As a woman, shouldn't I be appalled at the thought of a cheating husband? Moreover, should I really feel sympathy...no, empathy...for the mistress? And if I am the type of woman who relates to the mistress, who understands the mistress, who may even be the mistress...shouldn't I be ashamed?
Mistress is a dirty word, and obviously we do not empathize or relate to her. It's against everything we are taught as children...right and wrong, commitment, hard work. Values to which the mistress seems opposed.
Zoe mentioned that, in the case of Derek and Meredith, the husband loves the mistress. And surely as children we are also taught the value of love and hear stories praising love above all else. But does love trump honesty, commitment, and honor? And what about love for the wife? Is that love discounted entirely? Tossed aside and cheapened?
There is an episode of "Sex and the City" wherein the women discuss great loves of their lives and Charlotte states that everyone has two great loves in their lives. While Miranda chastises her for having a "convenient theory," Charlotte must believe that there is more than one great love, as her first love (and marriage) failed. She believed that there was someone else out there. As for Carrie, it became a doomsday sentence, having already achieved her two great loves (Aiden and Big). Now, somewhat bittersweetly, the story concludes after six seasons with Carrie and her first great love, Mr. Big reuniting. The other women all have success as well with a Mr. 1 or Mr. 2 love of their lives. Charlotte gets Harry, her second love and second marriage, Miranda and Steve (father of her child) wind up together, and even Samantha finds love in an unlikely source, Smith Jarrod (after one other long-term love affair with Richard).
Perhaps it's convenience, or perhaps there's something to the "two great loves" theory. So what happens to the wife, and what happens to the mistress?
Assuming both are great loves, which is superior? The first, merely because she staked her claim already? The second, because we are taught that newer is better? How do we judge which woman Derek loves more, or can we even quantify love in such a way? And what about Carrie? She met Big first, and Big was the one she ends up with. Does that mean Aiden is less significant in her life? Less of "the one" and more "runner-up?" What if she had met Aiden first, would she still end up with Big?
Perhaps it's all fate. Perhaps there is no fate. I think the moral of the story is that nothing is certain. And perhaps that we shouldn't be so quick to judge the "dirty mistress." But if Derek plays it the way Carrie did, Meredith is out of the picture, and that saddens me.
What if, just this once, life comes down on the side of the dirty mistresses?